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426                               LIFE  OF
with age3 and more still with the mood in which the
ever-present feeling of a great loss contemplates nature
and the retirement of country life. The fruit of this
less sad than, solemn frame of mind was a large num-
ber of poems^ all in the same form, whose existence
was unknown to Ms brother or to any member of his
affectionate family. He had for several years dictated
these sonnets to his secretary, Ferdinand Sciralz, every
evening, even when on Ms shorter journeys, and a
portion of them have now been published. To every
volume of Ms collected works his brother Alexander
Las prefixed a selection from this eyclus of beautiful
sonnets7 so that several hundreds have been published,
and these are only a very small proportion of the
entire quantity,
Two men especially gladdened the last years of his
life—his brother Alexander and Goethe.
The brother now lived near him. How much they
had to tell each other who had been so long sepa-
ratedj and? from reasons one may easily imagine,
could not even communicate by correspondence. The
letters they wrote to each other were rare, and were
like a landscape without water or foliage. For, as is
frequently the case^ they did not even communicate
what they might safely have written. What joy
must it then have been for Humboldt to itave- his
younger and more robust brother aretana near him,
aad see him advance on Ms course. We know how
their studies had always advanced Itand-in-handj—
hoWy when their paths lay far asunder^ they watched
each others course with anxious interest,,—and how,
in the most -opposite studies and pursuits, the relation
of their souls oouki not be concealed,
Humboldt artel Goethe also continued in uninter-
rupted correspondence until the death of the latter,
and did not cease to         each other by active interest
and assistance.   If, especially in the present age^ there
is something   exceedingly' gratifying  in  seeing two
such eminent men maintain^ sach an intimate friend*
for nearly half a century* it is doubly affecting*